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On The Picture Perfect Trail - Leaving Footprints & Taking Memories - 12 Days / 11 Nights

Destinations covered: Shimla, Manali, Taragarh & Dharamsala
Day hikes: One in Shimla, One in Manali, One in Taragarh and One in Dharamsala
Operational period: Operational full year. Best period April to June & September to November
Physical requirement: Pax should be physically fit enough to walk for 6- 7 hours/ 12 kms

This tour would take you on a romantic tour of Himachal with lots packed in for the nature lover. The tour would take you to some of the most famous Hill Stations of Himachal viz. Shimla, Manali and Dharamsala. Shimla was the Capital of the British India and has many glorious buildings of the Raj Era. You would also visit the Valley Of Gods – Kullu valley where you would visit some villages and would get tired of taking pictures of the traditional village houses and the landscape. Further we move to Taragarh to experience the charm of staying in a Heritage hotel and seeing the Tea Gardens. We continue the tour further with stay in Dharamsalal (Mc Leodganj) which is also known as the Little Lahasa and is home to the His Holiness The Dalai Lama and The Tibetan Government in exile. We end the tour with a sojourn at Amritsar visiting the flag ceremony at Wagah border (international border of India & Pakistan) and the beautiful Golden temple.  

Detailed itinerary:-

Day 01: Arrive Shimla ( by train )
Morning intime transfer to Delhi railway station to board Shatabadi express to Kalka. On arrival in Kalka connect toy train to Shimla. The Toy Train zig zags its route through hills and 103 tunnels providing views of picturesque landscape. On arrival in Shimla transfer to hotel. Overnight at hotel.

Day 02: In Shimla
Today we would take you on a heritage walk of Shimla. In the morning transfer from the hotel to Chotta Shimla. Start your walk from here to the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies. On this walk view the residence of Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh which is also known as Oakover Estate a building of British Era. Also walk past many other structures etc of British Era like the Shimla Club, Hotel The Oberoi Clarkes, Gaiety Theater, The Mall, The Ridge, Gorton Castle now office of The Accountant General, State Museum of Himachal (remains closed on mondays & national holidays) and finally ending the walk at the magnificent Indian Institute of Advanced Studies or the Viceregal Lodge. Rest of day free. Overnight at hotel.

Day 03: Shimla / Manali ( 265 kms )
Transfer by surface from Shimla to Manali enroute visiting famous Kullu Shawl Industry and Kullu town. On arrival check in at hotel. Overnight at hotel.

Day 04: In Manali
Today we take you on a very small walk of Manali. Morning transfer to old Manali village. Visit Manu temple and also view some very old traditionally built houses in the village. Later we walk from the village to Hadimba Devi Temple, an old pagoda shaped wooden temple through a small forest. From Hadimba Devi temple we walk through another village – Nasogi down to the Tibetan Monastery located towards the end of Manali market. Afternoon & evening free to explore Manali market and shop. ** option to visit a NGO running a children home and interact with children (open from 10th Mar onwards only as remains closed in winters). Overnight at hotel.

Or alternatively we take you on hike from Solang Nallah to Manali. Transfer by surface from Manali to Sollang Nallah. Trek starts along the right bank of Beas river through villages, green fields and orchards with beautiful valleys, forests & mountain view to old Manali village covering 11 kms. Overnight at hotel.

Day 05: In Manali
Day free for independent activities. Alternatively a half day tour visiting Shiva temple at Jagatsukh village, Naggar Castel, Roerich Art Gallery (remains closed on mondays & national holidays) and other old temples at Naggar village. ** you have an option of getting Indian dress stitched today  by members of Self help groups local ladies (ladies Salwar kameez & gents Kurta payzama), visiting Weaving & buying local produced shawls ** optional Kullu folk dance performance. Overnight at hotel.

Day 06: Manali / Taragarh ( 185 kms )
Travel by surface from Manali to Taragarh enroute visiting Basheshar Mahadev temple at Bajaura, Trilokinath Temple at Mandi and Mandi town. Also visit the magnificient Shiva temple at Baijnath. On arrival check in at Hotel Taragarh Palace. Overnight at hotel.

Day 07: In Taragarh
Transfer from Taragarh Palace to Neugal Bridge in Palampur. We start the hike through the forest to Kandi village. It takes around two hours from the bridge to the village. Kandi is a Gaddi tribal village. Good views of Dhauladhar from Neugal area. We pass through Kandi village to reach Bandla, another tribal village. From Bandla we walk through the forest to reach Chandpur tea estate and country cottage. Later visit Palampur town and transfer back to the hotel. ** Evening option to visit Tashijong monastery which also has nearby a Tibetan carpet weaving centre. Overnight at hotel.

Day 08: Taragarh / Dharamsala ( 51 kms )    
Transfer from Taragarh to Dharamsala enroute visiting Chamunda Devi temple and Norbulingka Institute which was set up to propogate & preserve Tibetan Handicrafts (remains closed on sundays). At Norbulingka Institute you can witness at its workshops Tibetan artisans practicing handicraft like wood carving, embroidery, thangka paintings. Also visit the Kangra State Museum (remains closed on mondays & national holidays). On arrival check in at hotel. ** evening an option to interact with a Tibetan monk. Overnight at hotel.

Day 09: In Dharamsala
Today we go on a walk around Mc Leodganj. It is a steep walk for about 3 kms from Mcleod ganj to Galu Devi passing through the deodar forest. From Galu Devi we have good views of Dhauladhars.  It takes another two hours from Galu Devi to Naddi village from where we have very good view of the peaks of Dhauladhar. From Naddi we come to the road head, Talnu and then walk on the road for 5 minutes to reach Tibetan Children Village. Passing through Tibetan children village and walking on road through forest we reach Mcleod Ganj. Evening free to explore Mc Leodganj. Overnight at hotel.

Alternatively we can also go on another walk. From Mcleod Ganj walk 1 km on the road to Bhagsu Nag from where we climb through the forest to Dharamkot. From Dharamkot it is a leveled walk through cedar forest to Naddi Village. Enroute visit a Buddhist Stupa and some meditation caves where Tibetan Buddhist monks live and meditate for many months during a year. After two hours of walk we arrive Naddi village where we visit a local family house for tea and refreshment. From Naddi village we have beautiful wide views of the peaks of Dhauladhar. Another half an hour walk takes us to Bahl village. Walk inside the village to meet villagers working in the farming fields. Picnic lunch (extra cost) near a small stream next to Bahl village. Walk back to Naddi village and then to Mcleod Ganj.

Alternatively we can take a little less time consuming walk. We start our walk on the jeepable road from Mcleodganj to Dharamkot. Dharamkot is a small village inhabited by local people of Gaddi tribe. From Dharamkot it is about 3 kms walk through Deodar forest to Naddi village. The village provides a beautiful view of the Dhauladhar range. Another 3 kms walk to Mcleodganj walking past a small lake called Dal Lake, and walking on road through forest we reach Mcleod Ganj. Evening free to explore Mc Leodganj. Overnight at hotel.

Day 10: In Dharamsala
Morning visit Bhagsu Nag temple, St John’s Church, Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute and The Library of Tibetan Works and Archives(remains closed on Sundays, second Saturdays and national holidays) and also visit Tibetan handicraft factory and see watch the women working on the traditional looms. Afternoon visit The Dalai Lama temple and Tibet Museum (remains closed on mondays & national holidays). We also take you on Kora walk (30 minutes walk around the temple and residence of H.H. Dalai Lama). During the walk you meet old Buddhist monks and nuns who are singing holy chants while they are walking. ** option of Tibetan cooking class (0 – 120 minutes class). Evening free to explore Mc Leodganj market. Overnight at hotel.

Day 11: Dharamsala / Amritsar ( 200 kms )
Travel by surface from Dharamsala to Amritsar. On arrival check in at hotel. Evening visit Wagah Border to view the flag ceremony. Late evening visit Golden temple to view Palaki Sahib ceremony. After dinner  we Visit Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib) for Palki Sahib Darshan or night ceremony, In the evening after Aarti and Kirtan Sohila path (prayer) is performed concluding with Ardas at night ends the daily temple services. A palanquin (Palki) gilded with gold and silver is prepared for bringing Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji from Golden Temple to the Akal Takht. Fresh silk brocade, coverings and cushions are laid in the Palki, and decorated with flowers on the top. The head priest (head Granthi) appears with Guru Granth Sahib Ji on a cushion on his head and the worshippers bow their heads. He places Granth Sahib Ji on the cushions of Palki Sahib. Hymns accompanied with nagaras, drums, fill the air with rhythm, music and piousness. It takes approximately 30 minutes to the worshippers reach the Akal Takhat Sahib along with Shri Guru Granth sahib. The head priest reverently carries Guru Granth Sahib in the resting place of Guru Granth Sahib ji in Akal Takhat. Overnight at hotel.

Day 12: Amritsar / Delhi ( by train )
Early morning transfer to railway station to board Shatabadi express to Delhi.